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I am considering acquiring a hybrid bike with a front suspension, since it is the closest to what I want that I can find. But I do not want a front suspension, so I would always ride with it locked out.

I am wondering what would the effects on long-term durability of the fork be, since I do not expect those forks were designed to be ridden locked all the time. The following possibilities occured to me already:

  1. Since the stancions would not move, they would likely rust and seals break much sooner due to lack of lubrification.
  2. Possibly the lock function's capability would with time degrade, needing maintenance or sapping more rider energy.
  3. Possibly the fork's tubes and structure are not sturdy enough to constantly absorb impacts in locked mode.

For concreteness, consider long-term the effects after at least 5 years and 30000 km of all-weather urban riding without any maintenance. I am concerned about maintenance needs, component longevity and riding efficiency in this use case. Looks and suspension performance are irrelevant to me.

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  • There's not really much point to locking out a fork unless you pedal standing on a steep climb and trying to win a race. Oct 8, 2023 at 19:20

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There are are different lock out systems in existence. It is therefore difficult to give a good answer.

Some lock out system decrease the low speed compression, some others make the compression more rigid, while others completely lock the fork. The system itself will affect the fork differently with your intended use.

A first simple solution would be to unlock the fork every now and then to allow for seal and plunger lubrication. YMMV here, e.g I have a freeride fork on a bike that I only use once a year that has been spending a number of winters (10) in a rather damp cellar and has no leaks nor rust spots whatsoever. I would not advise it ofc. It is simply to give you a ballpark of what a good fork could sustain.

A second solution is to replace the fork. Why carry the added weight of a suspension fork if you do not plan on using it at all? You could potentially resell it and get a hard fork with the same length.

From a reader's perspective it seems that you are picking the wrong bike for the job though. You seem to look for a no-maintenance commuter. A bike with a suspension fork will rarely be a great choice in that regard. If you have the budget (which is a big IF) you could look at a simple belt drive commuter bike with a hub or pinion transmission and no suspension fork at all. This would be the ultimate no maintenance commuter bike.

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